Technical Writing: How to Write Software Documentation Using DITA XML

Learn to write and produce software documentation using DITA in Oxygen XML Author editor

Instructed by Jordan Stanchev

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  • Know the basics of DITA
  • Create DITA maps
  • Create DITA topics
  • Produce multiple documentation deliverable outputs from a single DITA XML source content
  • How to write in DITA XML using Oxygen XML Author tool

 Do want to learn how to write documentation using DITA XML? If yes, I can help!

My name is Jordan Stanchev. And I have built my career in the field of technical communications in the last 18 years.

Starting off my carrier as a Java developer, I have then became a technical writer and a knowledge architect. At present, I lead the development of DITA-based technical writer's infrastructure projects, as well as the group of the DITA information architecture experts in the DITA CMS environment of our company.

In addition, I teach technical writing at university and online to students around the world.

I have vast experience in structured writing and information architecture using various DITA XML content management systems at a Fortune 500 company.


I believe, that today knowing DITA XML simply is a must!


The course 'How to Write Using DITA XML' is designed for entry level technical writers who wants to quickly learn what is DITA, create a simple guide and deliver it using a non-customized output using Oxygen Author tool. 

It will take you around 2 hours from the start as an absolute beginner, go through this course and deliver a small and simple guide in PDF or HTML output format.


What will you learn?

This is a course I use to teach my university students in IT about what is DITA and how to get started with DITA. That is why it provides:

- Basic knowledge and understanding what is DITA;

- How to get started writing software documentation using DITA in a content management system (Oxygen Author);

- What is DITA topic and how to use it;

- What is DITA map and how to use it;

- How to construct a deliverable using a DITA XML editor: Oxygen XML Author;

- How to produce a final deliverable ready for shipment to your customers.


What is NOT COVERED in this course:

As this is a getting started course, I shall not deep dive into DITA XML markup. To learn DITA it may take years of experience. The goal of the course is to provide you with a quick getting started. That is why:

- This is not a comprehensive DITA XML course. Do not expect such deep dive level here.

- No reuse strategies are touched upon! I do not provide details on linking, profiling, chunking, nesting, sophisticated delivery strategy, and so on.

- I do not provide information about DITA specializations, DITAVAL files, DTDs and so on. This is not covered in this course.

- OTK is not covered or even mentioned in this course.



Structured writing in DITA XML is an advanced discipline for technical writers. You can find many authors with decent language and writing skills. But you already know that technical writing is so much more than just written text with no spelling mistakes, isn't it?

If you need your technical writers to:

- Strictly follow your company or industry writing guidelines;

- Be able to spend less time on maintenance of old documentation and spend more time on value added activities for the customer;

- Offer information that can be reused on all levels - entire guides, chapters, topics, sentences or even single words;

- Maintain very high content quality standard  with no broken links and missing content;

- Produce as many different output formats as your customer needs - all from the same content

- Use metadata to classify the content that was written and offer it for automated forms of information consumption;

then most probably you are already evaluating DITA as an option for writing. DITA already offers all listed functionality and even more!


Being a Technical Writer who knows how to use DITA can open the doors for you to start a career in some of the greatest IT companies in the world!

Here are just a couple of company names that write their documentation using DITA XML:

- Apple

- IBM (they invented DITA, after all!)

- Google

- VMware


and hundreds other companies!


If this quick start into DITA course is what you are looking for, I will be happy to meet you in this course! 


Enroll now and see how simple technical writing with DITA XML can be!

  • You need a PC or a laptop where to install the needed software an follow the exercises in the course
  • This course is not suitable for use on a mobile device or tablet
  • Basic knowledge in technical writing is recommended
  • Technical writers who want to learn what is DITA
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Section 1 : Introduction

  • Lecture 1 :
  • Introduction to the DITA Standard Preview
  • Lecture 2 :
  • Basics of Structured Writing

Section 2 : Get Started with This Course

  • Lecture 1 :
  • Installing a Tool for Writing with DITA
  • 1.Request a trial license from the Get a Trial page:  2.Start the download. Go to 3.Choose your OS. 4.Click on the Download button. 5.Once the download is complete, start the installation wizard and install the tool. 6.Once the installation is complete, enter your trial license key. You are now ready with the set up of the software for this course.
  • Lecture 2 :
  • Prepare Your Documentation Deliverable
  • Let's get ready to create a guide in DITA! In this lecture I will do a short 5-min-summary of this course, so you can get an impression of what we are going to go through in this course. Do not worry if you do not understand the terms or concepts I summarize here - later on in the course we are going to talk about it in more details.

Section 3 : Get Started with DITA

  • Lecture 1 :
  • Understanding DITA. Authoring Perspective.
  • Lecture 2 :
  • Understanding DITA. Information Architect Perspective.

Section 4 : DITA Maps

  • Lecture 1 :
  • What is a DITA Map?
  • In this lecture you will learn: - What is DITA map? - Which types of DITA maps are available to use in Oxygen Author tool
  • Lecture 2 :
  • How to Create a DITA Map?
  • In this lecture you will learn: How to create a regular DITA map How to reference a topic in a DITA map How to use the DITA map to structure a deliverable (a guide)

Section 5 : DITA Topics

  • Lecture 1 :
  • What is DITA Topic?
  • In this lecture you will learn what is DITA topic and which DITA topic types you can use.
  • Lecture 2 :
  • How to Create Concept, Task or Reference DITA Topic?
  • In this lecture you will learn how to create a DITA Topic.
  • Lecture 3 :
  • How to Write in a DITA Concept Topic
  • in this lecture you will learn: How to create a DITA Concept topic How to enter content in a Concept topic
  • Lecture 4 :
  • How to Enter a New Paragraph in a Concept
  • In this lecture you will learn how to create a new paragraph in a Concept topic.
  • Lecture 5 :
  • Creating a Bullet List Item
  • In this lecture you will learn how to create a bullet list item.
  • Lecture 6 :
  • How to Write a DITA Task Topic
  • In this lecture you will learn: How is the DITA Task topic organized? How to create steps in a Task topic?
  • Lecture 7 :
  • How to Insert a Link Between Topics
  • In this lecture you will learn how to create a link between two DITA topics.

Section 6 : Output Production

  • Lecture 1 :
  • Producing a PDF File from a DITA Map
  • In this lecture you will learn how to produce a PDF file from a DITA map.
  • Lecture 2 :
  • Producing Multiple Outputs - HTML5 and PDF

Section 7 : Webinars

  • Lecture 1 :
  • Webinar Recording - Day 1
  • Webinar - day 1.
  • Lecture 2 :
  • Webinar Recording - Day 2 - Part 1
  • Webinar - day 2
  • Lecture 3 :
  • Webinar Recording - Day 2 - Part 2
  • Day 2 - Part 2.
  • Lecture 4 :
  • Webinar Recording - Day 2 - Part 3

Jordan Stanchev,

Using the principles he teaches, Jordan Stanchev has built his career in the field of technical communications. He applies practical experience collected through years of work in the IT industry as Java developer, DITA technical writer, knowledge architect, project management professional and user assistance development architect. Jordan Stanchev is one of the founders of TEKOM Bulgaria, a passionate teacher at the University and User Assistance Development Architect at a fortune 500 company. Stanchev is the author of various courses related to the field of technical communications, ranging from the basics of technical writing to DITA information architecture, taxonomies and metadata. Jordan Stanchev is a frequent speaker and presenter at technical communications conferences, such as tcworld - Stuttgart, Germany and ETC - Sofia, Bulgaria. His vast practical experience in the field of technical communications allows his audience to experience a practitioner that has real live experience and advanced knowledge in the field. Jordan Stanchev believes that with practice and hard work we all can achieve so much more at our job! Over 500 participants from around the world have attended Jordan Stanchev’ s seminars. His courses change people's professional lives for better!
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